An Oregon cat lover has vowed to memorialize his late feline friend Pikachu by sending the dead cat’s cremated remains into space so it can orbit the planet and eventually fall back toward earth, disintegrating into the ether in a blaze. Ashes to ashes, vapor to vapor.
Pikachu was diagnosed with diabetes in January 2018. Since then, his owner Steve Munt has been sharing details of Pikachu’s fight, through the Twitter account of his other cat Zee, which has more than 12,000 followers. Munt and Zee are both science enthusiasts, so the account often tweets about topics relating to space and physics.
In Pikachu’s final hours, Zee’s account tweeted that the brave cat was “preparing for what I think is his final mission.”
But it seems Pikachu had another mission in store for him. As he was mourning the loss of Pikachu, Munt decided that the cat must go to space.
“Zee has been personified on Twitter [as] a quantum physicist, and there is often a science theme to Zee’s tweets,” Munt told Space.com. “Space would allow a tribute that could be shared with Zee’s followers, since they will all be able to track Pikachu’s location in space.”
Munt set up a GoFundMe account to raise money to enlist the company Celestis Pet to blast Pikachu into the heavens. The space-memorial company charges $5,000 for its service that claims to launch a “symbolic portion of cremated remains” into “Earth orbit where it remains until it reenters the atmosphere, harmlessly vaporizing like a shooting star in final tribute.”
Celestis has been offering to send remains into space in secondary payloads since 1997. In 2014, the company created a separate operation just for pets. Celestis Pets claims it has sent two dogs—Apollo and Laika—into space. It has not yet launched a cat. “I wanted Pikachu to be the first, continue his legacy as an explorer and show the world that a cat is just as worthy as a dog of a special tribute,” Munt told Space.com.
The “symbolic portion” of Pikachu that will go into space will come from the cat’s heart, according to the GoFundMe page.
Munt has only raised $1,725 of his goal. But he told Space.com he has already signed a Celestis Pet contract and paid for the service. “My dream is coming true, regardless of any additional donations,” he said. “And I am currently awaiting an assigned slot on a future launch.”
To be clear, Pikachu would not be the first cat in space. That distinction belongs to Felicette, who was sent into space by French scientists in 1963. But Pikachu’s ashes could be the first remains of a mildly Twitter-famous cat to go into space, fulfilling his owner’s fantasy—a token of humanity’s weird obsession with the feline form. Perhaps this will mark an even greater cosmic milestone than all space animals before him.